(The Center Square) – Gov. Greg Abbott and the Texas Department of Public Safety launched “Operation Lone Star” over the weekend after a surge of people at the Texas-Mexico border continued to try and get into the U.S. in response to Biden administration policies.
The Texas National Guard is also involved in the operation, tasked with deploying air, ground, marine and tactical border security to high threat areas to deny Mexican cartels and other smugglers the ability to move drugs and people into Texas.
“The crisis at our southern border continues to escalate because of Biden Administration policies that refuse to secure the border and invite illegal immigration,” Abbott said in a statement. “Texas supports legal immigration but will not be an accomplice to the open border policies that cause, rather than prevent, a humanitarian crisis in our state and endanger the lives of Texans. We will surge the resources and law enforcement personnel needed to confront this crisis.”
When asked by a reporter last week if there is a crisis at the border, Biden replied, “No, we’ll be able to handle it.”
But even Texas Democrats – concerned about 10,000 people arriving every week at one border entry, many testing positive for COVID-19 – say Biden’s immigration policy is a disaster. Many of those entering illegally are now being released into the community because of Biden’s policy reinstating the “catch and release” program, which was ended under the previous administration.
U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas, whose district extends from the Rio Grande along the Mexican border to the San Antonio suburbs, warned, “We are weeks, maybe even days, away from a crisis on the southern border. Inaction is simply not an option. Our country is currently unprepared to handle a surge in migrants in the middle of the pandemic.”
In one of his first actions after being inaugurated, Biden announced via executive order a 100-day moratorium on deportations. Texas sued and a federal judge blocked enforcement of the moratorium.
However, now Biden has invited asylum seekers who were previously rejected to reapply for asylum, the first time in U.S. history, Edna Sheriff A.J. Louderback notes.
The five-term sheriff from Jackson County says the Biden administration has “dismantled every piece of the Immigration Naturalization Act,” meaning anyone outside the U.S. is being “invited” to come, “whether you’re seeking asylum or not.
“This is the first time in U.S. history where the federal government has gone back on rejected asylee applicants, in the last year or so, and they’re reaching out to them to bring them back into the United States.”
According to the sheriff, Border Patrol agents in the Rio Grande Valley sector have seen roughly 1,000 people per day crossing into Texas from Mexico. One aspect of human trafficking involves cartels who claim territory, called “plazas,” along the border who work with traffickers, called, “coyotes,” who charge for passage.
“If you want access to the border through the plazas, you will pay what’s called a peso to the Gulf Cartel in this area, and that peso averages at a low of about $250 per person. So [at] 1,000 [people crossing] a day, you’re looking at a quarter-million dollars a day coming in and funding the cartel for its future violence, and the future enhancement of all things criminal that go on here in Texas … in the United States,” Louderback said.
In February, the number of children illegally entering the U.S. soared by more than 50 percent compared to the previous month, the Wall Street Journal reported.
In a letter to Biden, 52 Congressmen and women, led by Texas Rep. Chip Roy, rebuked Biden’s policies, arguing, “the fundamental responsibility of the federal government is to protect America, not to ignore the law and to actively encourage, incentivize, and facilitate illegal migration in ways that empower cartels and endanger both American citizens and migrants wrongly being encouraged to succumb to the perilous journey.”
“The Trump Administration’s policy to use 42 U.S. Code § 265 is perhaps now the only policy ensuring the southern border is not immediately rushed,” they write. If Biden rescinds it “the daily illegal flow will become catastrophic overnight.”
The members of Congress asked that Homeland Securoty Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas immediately brief them on the border situation, saying, “This is not a political game – we implore you not to let ideology blind your Administration to the need to secure the border, to defend Americans, and to prevent another cartel-empowering humanitarian crisis.”